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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What are the Odds? 30 to 1

I got an acceptance letter today for a short story of mine, which was a finalist this year for the Iowa Review Fiction Award and last year for the New Letters Fiction Award. It's not appearing in the most spectacular of literary journals, but I'm still happy to get it placed somewhere. I think my odds are running at about 30 rejections for every acceptance. No wonder I'm exhausted.


Anonymous said...

Dear WR:

I await your brilliant entries each day.

I'd also like to point out to you that 30 to 1 odds are not bad. Don't complain.

Writer, Rejected said...

But dear flattering Anonymous, the whole purpose of my blog (despite another poster's suggestion that it is to start a revolution against the rejecting ruling class) is to complain.

Besides, 30 licked envelopes and 30 glued stamps and 30 trips to the post office (save for online submissions, which are few and far between), is a lot of work for only one measly acceptance.

Don't you think?

BlondebutBright said...

Congratulations! It's called intermittent reinforcement, and (unfortunately or not) it works for everyone. My mom used to shake her head at us when we fed my dog pizza crust (just occasionally!) because that would mean she would always beg. Maybe a terrible comparison, but I'm the same - I think if the odds were 100 to 1 I would still keep trying. Enjoy your success!

Writer, Rejected said...

BbB: It's an apt description. In recent puppy training (I have an 8 mo. old pooch), they tell you to use the "slot machine approach" with your dog. That is, only sometimes reward for a desired canine behavior. This turns your dog into a gambling junkie,who will continue putting coins in the slot (i.e., offering up the desired behavior) on the small chance that you will reward with a treat--jackpot. Your mother was right! We are mere strays in these mean literary streets.

ssas said...

Unless your dog is wicked-clever like mine. She requires reinforcement EVERY time or she quits trying nearly immediately.

She'd never make it as a writer. :D

I'm getting tons of personal rejections, which is supposed to indicate that I'm "close to publication" or something. I actually am published, but like you say, whatever.

Writer, Rejected said...

I don't feel "whatever"-ish about your succes. Just as we find solace in shared rejection, I think as writers we need to be happy for each other in victory and feel that a publication for one of us is a publication for all of us. That, too, should be part of the new world after the writer revolution. So, hey, congratulations!